More than 20 million Americans suffer from severe vision loss but 75% of disease-related vision loss is avoidable through prevention or treatment. If you have good vision, don’t take it for granted, take care of it! Taking care of your eyes isn’t complicated but your eyes are vital organs that require a few simple things.
Get regular eye exams
Many eye conditions, including cataracts, glaucoma and diabetic retinopathy don’t have symptoms in early stages, when they’re most treatable. The best way to catch diseases early are through regular eye screenings.
Be mindful of screen time
Whether it’s your computer at work, checking your phone, or relaxing in front of the TV, it seems like people are always looking at a screen. While those screens are sometimes necessary they can have some negative effects.
Staring at a computer or phone screen for too long can cause:
- Blurry vision
- Trouble focusing at a distance
- Dry eyes
- Neck, back, and shoulder pain
Of course, lowering screen time can help with these problems but that isn’t always an option.
To protect your eyes from necessary screens:
- Make sure your glasses or contacts prescription is up to date.
- If your eye strain won’t go away, talk to your doctor about computer glasses.
- Move the screen so your eyes are level with the top of the monitor. That lets you look slightly down at the screen.
- Try to avoid glare from windows and lights. Use an anti-glare screen if needed.
- Choose a comfortable, supportive chair. Position it so that your feet are flat on the floor.
- If your eyes are dry, blink more.
- Rest your eyes every 20 minutes. Look 20 feet away for 20 seconds. Get up at least every 2 hours and take a 15-minute break.
If eye fatigue persists, it can be a sign of several different conditions, such as dry eye, presbyopia, or lenses that are not properly centered. See an ophthalmologist to determine why you are having eye fatigue and to receive proper treatment.
Vitamin deficiency can impair retinal function. Nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, lutein, zinc, and vitamins C and E might help ward off vision problems like macular degeneration and cataracts. To get them, fill your plate with:
- Green leafy vegetables like spinach, kale, and collards
- Salmon, tuna, and other oily fish
- Eggs, nuts, beans, and other nonmeat protein sources
- Oranges and other citrus fruits or juices
- Oysters and pork
A well-balanced diet also helps you stay at a healthy weight. That lowers your odds of obesity and related diseases like type 2 diabetes, which is the leading cause of blindness in adults.
Wear sunglasses and protective eye wear
Too much sunlight exposure can increase your risk of developing cataracts and other eye diseases. Since sun damage can build up over a lifetime, make sure you and your children wear UV-protective eye wear and even wide-brimmed hats.
Sunglasses are important for everyday activities but safety glasses may be needed for other activities such as home improvement and sports. An estimated 2.5 million eye injuries occur in the U.S. each year, so it is critical to wear proper eye protection to prevent eye injuries. For most repair projects and activities around the home, standard ANSI-approved protective eyewear will be sufficient. Sports eye protection should meet the specific requirements of that sport; these requirements are usually established and certified by the sport’s governing body and/or the American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM).
Smoking increases your risk of developing cataracts and macular degeneration as well as other health problems, such as cancer.